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Community gives Albion graduates a big send off

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Justice Nauden, a member of Albion’s Class of 2015, walks to the stage to receive her diploma during a commencement program attended by about 2,000 people this evening at the high school gymnasium.

The Class of 2015 graduated from Albion with a send off that showed pride in the students for what they’ve accomplished so far.

Board of Education President Margy Brown presents Isabella Cox with her diploma. Cox was the class treasurer.

Albion graduated 129 students, the smallest class in recent memory. Those students leave with accomplishment, said Michael Bonnewell, the superintendent of schools.

The students logged 7,200 hours of community service. They needed 30 to meet their graduation requirement, but many were well over that with 16 hitting 100 hours or more, five at 200-plus and one beyond 300 hours.

The 7,200 hours is equivalent to 180 work weeks at 40 hours a week, Bonnewell noted.

District Superintendent Michael Bonnewell addresses the Class of 2015.

He said he’s proud of the students and how community service has become engrained at the school.

Students also excelled in the classroom, in music, the arts, and on the sports field.

The Class of 2015 was part of 10 teams that won Niagara-Orleans League titles and six Sectional crowns. The athletes were scholars with 55 of the 68 teams with Class of 2015 members at 90 percent or higher with their grade point averages, Bonnewell said.

Class President Aaron Burnside, left, Class Salutatorian Jacob Squicciarini and Valedictorian Madyson Coville are all smiles as the commencement program gets started.

The class will have at least 80 percent of its members enroll in college. The students are already graduating with 819 college credits, the equivalent of about $250,000 in SUNY college tuition.

“Despite it’s small size, this class has achieved,” Bonnewell said.

They won 11 first place awards in marching band competitions, were recognized for musical performances by the Rochester Stars of Tomorrow, and helped the district continue its streak of national recognition as a Best Community for Music Education.

Kevin Rosario walks up to get his diploma. He was one of 129 graduates in the Class of 2015.

Bonnewell said the Albion community provides students with an opportunity for success in school. And many students have done their part with diligent work and effort.

“This is just the beginning,” Bonnewell told the graduates inside a packed high school gymnasium. “Know you have your Albion community behind you.”

Dyer Benjovsky and his twin sister Monica walk to the risers to join other members of Senior Chorus in singing the National Anthem and then “For Good.”

Members of the Senior Chorus, from left on bottom row, include Sara Maxon, David Stilwell, Aaron Chen, Ben Vanacore and Andrea Muoio.

Board of Education President Margy Brown addressed the graduates and told them the school has worked to help them build their confidence. That is different from arrogance, which is driven by selfish motives, she said.

“Embrace the confidence that Albion has instilled in you,” Brown said. “Go out in this world and make a difference.”

Salutatorian Jacob Squicciarini and Valedictorian Madyson Coville gave a combined speech. After thanking parents, teachers and community members, the two alternated reading “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss.

Many members of the Junior Class, led by Dylan Bader, served as escorts for the Class of 2015, leading the seniors into the gymnasium.

Emily Shabazz is excited as she goes to get her diploma.

Chase Vazquez heads to the stage for his degree.

Class President Aaron Burnside leads the class in the turning of the tassel to signify the last step in graduation.

One graduate had a nice present waiting outside the school.